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Social Media and Cyberbullying: The Effect on Today's Teens

By: Gwen Anderson

Mental Health Counseling Intern

With advancements in technology, came the creation of social media. Social media allows people today to network and to create and share content more easily with others. Social media apps and websites have also paved the way for cyberbullying. It has made it easier for bullying to extend outside the classroom. So, what exactly is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices,” as defined by the Cyberbullying Research Center. Not only can cyberbullying happen over social media, but it can also occur over text message, emails, instant messaging, and gaming. This can include mean comments, online rumors, threats, pictures/videos, and sexual remarks.

85% of today’s teens use social media and 60% report experiencing some sort of cyberbullying. Like bullying, cyberbullying can also have a negative impact on an individual’s mental health and well-being. 37% of teens have reported developing depression and 41% of teens have reported feelings of social anxiety according to the 2017 Annual Bullying Survey. 81% of teens have reported that bullying is easier to get away with online, as 90% of students who see cyberbullying occur, don’t speak up (Cox Communications Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey)

If you are a parent, friend, or teacher of someone you suspect being cyberbullied, here are some signs to watch out for:

Appearing anxious, moody, or agitated

Stop using devices connected to the internet

Avoiding going to school

Drop in Academic performance

Acting more aggressively towards others

Have changes in sleeping or eating habits

Attempt self-harm

If your child is a victim of cyberbullying here are steps of action to take:

Communicate with your child about who they communicate with on social media

Talk to your kids about cyberbullying

Emphasize that internet and social media privileges will not be taken away

Raise the issue with teachers

Reach out to your children’s friends

Seek professional help

If you suspect that YOU are a victim of cyberbullying:

Tell someone you trust

Keep records of incidents of cyberbullying

Block the bullies

Report the individuals for bullying via social media platforms

For more resources on cyberbullying:

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